Return to the Mushroom Farm

by V Rose Dahrke

So, as you may or may not (but probably do) know, I moved into my current apartment back in March because several large mushrooms sprouted in my kid’s bedroom at my old apartment.  The shower in the bathroom had been leaking for some time and the water eventually ran under the wall and into the carpet of the bedroom.  Undetected, this water turned the area under her changing table/dresser into a swamp, causing mushrooms to sprout.

By the time we finally got maintenance in to look at it, the workman told us “This wall is probably all mold.  You want my advice?  Get out.  Get out now.”

He didn’t have to tell me twice.  I grew up with two asthmatics in my family, and we had to leave an apartment in South Korea due to multiple stories worth of black mold.  By the time we left, my youngest brother was having near-constant difficulty breathing.  Mold is not something I mess around with.  We found the mushrooms on a Wednesday; that Saturday we signed the lease on this apartment.

Needless to say, I don’t like water damage.  That’s why, when I noticed the frozen washer pipes on Tuesday, I called maintenance here immediately.  This was the second time this winter this had happened and, as anyone who lives in Colorado Springs knows, these past three days have been brutally cold.  I think Tuesday had a wind chill of -36 Fahrenheit.  Yeah.  Cold.  Last time I called them, they were able to warm the pipe again before it broke and everything was fine.

But Tuesday passed.

And Wednesday.

No maintenance.

I was annoyed that I couldn’t do laundry, but I wasn’t worried until this afternoon when, as I was writing in my bedroom, I heard my husband shout something.  The baby was napping, so all was clearly not optimal, but it wasn’t until he burst into the room, shouted “Get out here!” and pointed toward a hissing sound emanating from the living room that I realized what had happened.

Today’s high was 31 degrees.  The pipe, untreated and clearly broken, thawed, spewing water through the nearest vent.  My dining room, laundry room, and parts of my kitchen were all flooded.

So, here we are, three maintenance guys (who remarked that ours was the sixth unit they’d fixed a broken pipe in today), all of the towels, and a wet vac borrowed from Pat’s property manager dad later.  The carpet is still damp, the towels are only half-boiled, and as I stand in my kitchen in rolled up jeans, surveying the remains of disaster and seeking succor in my postprandial cup of tea, I realize that I, indeed, have miles to go before I sleep.

Once.  Once I’d like to live somewhere where fountains don’t spring from my walls.

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